The Geoponica or Geoponika (Greek: Γεωπονικά) is a twenty-book collection of agricultural lore, compiled during the 10th century in Constantinople for the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. The Greek word Geoponica signifies "agricultural pursuits" in its widest sense. It is the only surviving Byzantine agricultural work.
During the Macedonian Renaissance, the emperor Constantine VII assembled several compendia - compilations and excerpts of ancient writings - of which Geoponika was one. Around 50 manuscripts, dating from between the 10th and 16th centuries, have survived. Geoponika incorporated the work of Cassianus Bassus, which was compiled from an earlier work by Vindonius Anatolius.
The 10th century collection is sometimes (wrongly) ascribed to the 7th century author Cassianus Bassus, whose collection, also titled Geoponica, was integrated into the extant work. Bassus drew heavily on the work of another agricultural compiler, Vindonius Anatolius (4th century). The ultimate sources of the Geoponica include Pliny, various lost Hellenistic and Roman-period Greek agriculture and veterinary authors, the Carthaginian agronomist Mago, and even works passing under the name of the Persian prophet Zoroaster. (The names of the principal sources for each section are attached to the text, although the age and correctness of these attributions remains in doubt.) The Greek manuscript tradition is extremely complex and not fully understood. Syriac, Pahlavi, Arabic and Armenian translations attest to its worldwide popularity and complicate the manuscript tradition still further.
The Geoponica embraces all manner of "agricultural" information, including celestial and terrestrial omina, viticulture, oleoculture, apiculture, veterinary medicine, the construction of fish ponds and much more.
Taken from Charles Anthon's Manual of Greek Literature (1853).
- 1. Of the atmosphere, and of the rising and setting of the stars
- 2. Of general matters appertaining to agriculture, and of the different kinds of corn
- 3. Of the various agricultural duties suitable to each month
- 4–5. Of the cultivation of the vine
- 6–8. Of the making of wine
- 9. Of the cultivation of the olive and the making of oil
- 10–12. Of horticulture
- 13. Of the animals and insects injurious to plants
- 14. Of pigeons and other birds
- 15. Of natural sympathies and antipathies, and of the management of bees
- 16. Of horses, donkeys and camels
- 17. Of the breeding of cattle
- 18. Of the breeding of sheep
- 19. Of dogs, hares, deer, pigs, and of salting meat
- 20. Of fishes
- ^ Byzantine Garden Culture. Dumbarton Oaks. 2002. p. 162.
- Dalby, Andrew, translator. 2011. Geoponika: Farm Work. Totnes: Prospect Books. ISBN 978-1-903018-69-9
- Henricus Beckh, editor. 1895; reprint 1994. Geoponica sive Cassiani Bassi scholastici de re rustica eclogae. Leipzig: Teubner. ISBN 3-598-71387-8 Full text available online (Ancient Greek)
- PDF: "Kêpopoiïa: Garden-Making and Garden Culture in the Greek Geoponica," in Byzantine Garden Culture, ed. A. Littlewood et al. (Washington, 2002), 159-175[permanent dead link]
- Discussion of the Geoponica by John N. Lupia, III, from the LT-ANTIQ listserve, with bibliography Archived 2005-03-13 at the Wayback Machine
- Translation by Thomas Owen (1805-06)